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Phish.Net Review Archive

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Here are the 15 most recent reviews submitted

ScottWR5 , attached to 2016-08-26 Permalink
One of the best selection of songs I've seen in a 3.0 setlist.

While this show wont have a lot of replay value, it was a blast to watch as this show was a high energy run through of some of Phish's best songs (DWD, Wolfmans, Simple, Ghost, Gin, YEM).

Can't wait to see what they do on Sunday!
Score: 0
vinsanity46 , attached to 2016-08-26 Permalink
I'm going to this as concise as possible.

I fucking loved this show. They set the tone early with Wilson and Trey just seemed pumped. An early DWD kept the pace quick and Free got dark funky. Wolfmans is just superb and still the energy rises. I thought then that the first set energy peaked with a Tube that was just infectious. It burrowed in and then burst forth with a punch. Then I thought they took a breather with the 555>It's ice>Wingsuit stretch (even though they were all executed well and Its ice was a highlight of the three. Wingsuit also got dark quick and I loved it). Then simple came in to life the energy back up before a beautiful Space Oddity that had the crowd in near silent awe.

Then the second set begins with another tone-setting duo. Then Fuego got deep and lead into a Ghost that was the spooky and beautiful jam the Lock'n crowd was looking for. It was a real treat. Then Gin continued the goodies and who can ever complaint about a Ghost + Gin morsel. Number line was an interesting choice following all the cohesive and nebulous shit they did up to that point, but ended up being a nice build into YEM which made me think they were feeling great about what they just did but excited for Sunday. Character Zero was an exclamation point that left me saying, "What a SHOW!"

Throughout the night there were several times I thought, "Damn...this is NICE!" or "Where was this all year?"

Easily my favorite show of 2016.

Well worth a listen.
Score: 1
yodadoe , attached to 2016-08-26 Permalink
TL;DR: Blaze On > Fuego -> Ghost > Bathtub Gin

^ That sequence right there is worth checking out.

Obviously, being there makes everything better. If you've come here looking for a reflection on the good time you had at Lockn', another review might be best for you. I'm more interested in identifying oustanding or unique performances that make it worth your while to get a copy of the show to listen to at a later date.

Overall, this show was very "loose," as they say. The band sounded exactly like a band who hasn't practiced their material in a month. So most of the first set felt like a warm-up or practice session to my ears. For the discerning listener, there isn't much out of the ordinary besides the Space Oddity.

Set 2 saw them trying much harder to get something interesting going. As I said at the top, the Blaze On > Fuego -> Ghost > Bathtub Gin is what you will want to check out. In particular, both the Ghost and the Bathtub Gin jams were unique and interesting. Ghost ended up going into some new and unusual places. And the Gin went to some very tasty minor-key darkness before returning to a happy ending. Then it actually segued very nicely into #Line. Much-maligned for rip-cording, the placement here was fine. YEM was a welcome treat, but didn't stray far.
Score: 1
Phabio , attached to 2016-08-26 Permalink
I'm gonna be brief because I'm at my campsite right now dripping in sweat, but I need to mention Ghost from last night. It was patient, provoking, experimental, funky, dark, light, and downright funky. The jam had all four members working in unison rather than taking turns showboating, and it's magic.

Happy LOCKN everyone.
Score: 2
hdorne , attached to 2016-08-26 Permalink
This is a really weird show, especially for a festival that isn't put on by Phish. There are quite a few flubs, but the playing is very inspired and experimental. Ghost is strange and beautiful, as is Bathtub Gin.

Trey is really combing the depths of the sonic ocean with his pedals right now, and I love it. Sometimes the tension and discordance become a lot to take, but he knows exactly what he's doing and leads the listener to safety. It's a new style of musical leadership for him. Rather than shredding and wailing, of which he's admittedly a master, he's creating new textures and landscapes and inviting his bandmates and the listener to follow. Sometimes it works, sometimes not as much, but it's intriguing to hear him putting things in test tubes and hearing what happens.

Even Number Line and Character Zero have weird, effects-laden jams that stand out from the typical renditions. Don't overlook this show because it's a festival. They typically play crowd-pleasers at these affairs, and understandably so. There might be new listeners in the audience and they want people to have a good time. This was a little different and well worth hearing for those of us who crave strange and beautiful Phish music. Trey was really jazzed about the show when they took a bow. I can't wait to hear what they cook up on Sunday.
Score: 10
brains481 , attached to 2016-08-26 Permalink

Wilson kicked things off, followed by DWD, whose composed section was flubbed pretty bad, from Mike's pedals seemingly not working to some of their vocals cues being off during the pauses between the chorus and verses, though Fish was tight and it had a nice if short and unfulfilling jam that didn't really meet it's potential, before going back into the ending of DWD > Free and Wolfman's Brother. In the latter's composed section, my stream had more stuttering than the King's Speech, but it gradually got better in time for the excellent funk rock jam awaiting me, with Fish rocking the ride bell and Trey manning the tension, it made for an excellent and patient jam that peaked nicely. It wasn't a masterpiece of a jam or anything, but it was a great and energetic one. They further brought the funk with Tube followed by 555, It's Ice, Wingsuit, Simple all of which were fairly tight versions, with the awesome acapella Space Oddity to cap off the set.


PYITE kicked things off, followed by Blaze On, which had a light jam with Mike dropping many a bomb before Page and his CS-80 brought us into space and then with twinkling glissandos, went into Fuego, which had a nice compact and peaky jam. Ghost then started up, the first since the awesome BGCA version, and this version does not disappoint, and dare I say it, is even better. Starting the jam off with some great Trey/Page interplay, Fish starts to speed shit up, albeit a lot more gradually than BGCA. Trey and Page move up the register and the tension heightens, Trey gets a quote going with Page providing rhythmic background and Mike holding down the mids beautifully.

Trey remains in tension land, Fish's playing gets heavier, Page keeps the tension up and then Trey sets himself up for a solo, which he gets to. Just before he begins, Page moves to the organ, giving everything a beautiful lift and then Trey just fuckin' wails, Mike drops bombs and then Trey shreds on tIS beautiful canvas the others have prepared with him. Trey cools down, the jam gets quietly rhythmic, and then the start/stop Woo! action begins before Gin starts up.

Gin quickly turns evil and dark, but Fishman keeps the tempo exciting and engaging, and not long into the tension, Trey seemingly goes for a solo, then brings then tension back to almost uncomfortable levels. Then he starts the build up again, eventually aided by Page underscoring him on piano and then the organ, and then Trey makes it all soar with a solo. After that magnificence, Trey heads into rockish territory to segue into Number Line. Some called this a ripcord, which is horse shit if you ask me. The Gin ran it's course and Number Line was a suitable breather if you ask me.

YEM finished the set and had a funky jam with a rhythm not too unlike 12/31/95. It even has a funky bass synth solo, not too unlike Page's work in the aforementioned jam. Trey also danced his ass off for a bit which is always funny as hell to see.

Zero was the encore for the nine hundredth time.

OVERALL: I've shit on many a show this summer and expected to do that here. But what I got was the show of the year (even if you include 1/1 and 1/2). The whole show is consistently great, always engaging and a hell of a lot of fun. I can't wait to see what the rest of this summer has to offer. Just an awesome show.

RATING: 4.5-5/5

HIGHLIGHTS: Wolfman's Brother, Ghost, Bathtub Gin (all are fantastic)
Score: 8
ilostmypebblesandmarbles , attached to 2016-07-22 Permalink
ilostmypebblesandmarbles Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease...........for the love of god.........People.........STOP........REVIEWING............SHOWS.........THAT...........YOU...........THINK..........SUCKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A show with no reviews would say it all. Ya know....silence is deafening. Sometimes people build you up just so they can knock you down. Last summer every show was "the best ever" and this year it's "Gossip Column" bologna after every gig.
Score: 0
JSilco_Photo , attached to 2004-06-19 Permalink
JSilco_Photo I recently stumbled across a thread a discussing the best constructed set or show ones seen. I Immediately thought of that Saturday night at SPAC in 2004. Now, never before have I written a review for .net as Iím usually trying to capture the show through my photos. So I thought Iíd share my response and experience from 12 years ago.

6/19/2004 - Saratoga Preforming Arts Center

REBA - Reba opener should of been an early indication of the greatness to come. (First Phish song I ever heard, First song I saw live. How fitting)

Strong JIM, NICU in the 2+3 slot. The show then started to blast itself into the legendary status it's become.

SASS - Scents gave way to utter bliss before finding the Swampy marshes of Wolfman's Brother.

WOLFMANĒS - Remember Wolfman's in 2.0? They were all amazing.

WALLS - The Highlight of the first set undoubtably came in the second quarter. Phish absolutely tore through the composed section of Walls before sailing into sonic ambience that resembled the type of jamming that came out of the IT Waves. 20 Minute ride later Fishman's Hi hat became audible.

Signaling BOWIE. Really no better way to end a set.
And then there was the 2nd set....

ASIHTOS - Now it's really really hard for me to pick a single favorite Phish jam. Basically it changes everyday. That being said If I was stranded on a desert Island with only 5 jams on an iPod. SPAC ASIHTOS would absolutely be one of them. This jam really is THAT good. Doesn't sound like any other jam from any other era. Completely Original.

PIPER - It's kinda baffling to think all that happened before the opening notes of the Greatest Piper of all time even started (IMO of course). I'll never forget standing at the top of the lawn in amazement with thousands of glow sticks flying over head. The Complexity and fluid movement of this Piper jam are what set it apart. Oh yeah.. And that unrelenting massive Tweezer Reprise peak. The most impressive part of this Piper came as the jam was winding down. Or was it? After 28 minutes of mind bending improvisation where in the hell does a band go from there? Mike Gordon knew exactly where this ship was headed as he convinced his bandmates to hop aboard. From the darkest of darks to a sublime peak, somehow we now found ourselves in a funk jam that ever so smoothly slid into Gotta Jibboo. What In the F%^& just happened!?! How the heck did we get here? Please.. Has anyone seen my brain?

LIMB BY LIMB: Ok thanks Phish. You gave me all of about 30 seconds to gather myself before further blowing what was left of my brain. A truly fantastic Limb with a soaring peak that still holds up with the greats.

CAVERN - Limb crashed into Cavern and while Trey's immortality was palpable all night, messing up the lyrics to cavern really isn't anything new. Great way to end the set.

WADING - Iíll always look at an encore as a bonus and really nothing more. Whatever they do or donít play wonít have much if any impact on the show. While Velvet Sea wouldnít of been my first choice, I certainly wasnít going to be the one to argue after a show like that.

Looking back: It certainly was a puzzling time. Possibly due my youth, I was somehow able to brush off the fact Phish was calling it quits helping to enjoy every (last) experience to itís fullest. I am so grateful though for how far weíve all come. Truly a great time to be a Phish fan.
Score: 0
FunkyCFunkyDo , attached to 2003-07-22 Permalink
FunkyCFunkyDo Having been involved in the 2003 Jam of the Year bracket, I am familiar with two of the "tentpole" jams from this show. Interestingly, I had long since forgotten about each since that tourney concluded -perhaps a harbinger of things to come in this review? Needless to say, I was looking forward to listening to these jams within the context of this very strange Phish show.

Punch You in the Eye starts the disco groove right out of the blocks. One of my favorite all-time opening song selections (not this one per se, but just the song in general) PYITE always sets the groove tone dance party. Energy high, expectations higher (with how strong the previous evening was...almost at least) the crowd was abuzz for the seond song of the evening... until it was Beauty of my Dreams. Weird choice. Not a bad choice, but a weird one, Phishgrass after dancegrooves early in the first set is an odd pairing, again not bad, but odd. The dance party picks back up with the first Gumbo of 2003. Woo hoo! Let the swamp funk commence! Hmmm... well... I mean I like this jam but I am not in like with this jam? Ya know? Maybe not? Fair enough, as this jam has got the "highly recommended treatment" and many .netters have waxed poetic about this 18-minute version. But this .netter though. I find this jam take a while to get rolling, and when it does, it is a little sloppy and disjointed. It darts in and out of major key, uplifting jams, only to be bogged back down into - well - not swampy cow funk like the extended Gumbos of old, but just kind of a quagmire of trying to resurrect the past. To my ears, you can almost feel the band consciously trying to stretch the jam out, but it feels as though they are trying too hard, rather than letting the jam unfold, as so many Winter 2003 jams did. Let's take a moment hear to compare that - unfolding vs forcing. Winter 2003, nothing felt forced. Every jam just happened. Every extended jam (and yes, I know the rule about never using absolutes) but really, every jam felt natural and organic in the moment. It's what makes Winter 2003 so special. In Summer 2003, I think Phish was trying to recapture that magic. But that's the problem: trying. In Winter 2003, they didn't try, they just did. Now in Summer 2003, especially in the middle part of the tour, they seem to be trying too hard to jam. I can hear it now... "LOL FUNKY! WTF are you talking about?! "Trying too hard to jam?!" KYS. We'd give anything for an 18 minute Gumbo in the first set these days." True enough, and fair enough, but contextually within the framework of this tour this Gumbo is trying to way too hard to be a Winter 2003 jam. For me, it never gets close. But for some people, it might. And that's the thrill of the chase. Sojourn on, loyal listener. Having waxed poetic about alllllllll that, Gumbo was a pretty sweet #3 song in the set. A solid, extended Divided Sky comes next and I gotta admit, even though DSky's 2003 tone is gritty and not-as-pretty as it was in pretty much any past year, these versions are all smokin hot. I mean Trey and Fish really get after each and every version with fire and gusto. This one is no different. A standard and dare I say tame Boogie On comes next and provided nothing but standard funk, which isn't a bad thing, but don't expect anything fancy from this version. A terrifyingly heavy Carini drops in next and scares the pants off of all in attendance. Like Boogie On, I will never relisten to this version again, but I am 100% certain in the moment at this show these two jams were dancey and energized, even if the replay value is neither. An oddball but very fun jazzy number called Magilla comes in next, and quite frankly I am stoked on this song. I cut a rug on our hardwood floors (turns out I stepped on the cat) as the swinging jazz sashays through Deer Creek. Fun stuff. A smoldering Possum closes things out. Possum in 2003, like Divided Sky, ALWAYS rips. This is a good version.

Set 2 starts off with another "weird' choice in Split Open and Melt. Weird seems to be the theme of this show. So why not go all in! This jam is highly polarizing for me. For the first 12 minutes, it is a dissonant wank-off. Nearly unlistenable and cringe-worthy, it just has no teeth. But then whammo! They turn the corner at the thirteen minute mark into a funky, locked in, up beat groove. This groove swirls and dips and dives some about 5 minutes: crawling into funk, jumping into energized jamming, and swaggering back into more funk before an almost clean -> Free. If you can get through the first 12 minutes of this Melt without your ears dying, the remaining 10 minutes will be worth it. Free is standard fair... for 2003. But contextually if this were to drop in 2016 we'd be freaking the f*** out because Free (today) is 5 minutes of normalized quasi funk. This one is 10 minutes of dirty, gritty funk. Cool to hear what Free *could* be. Sigh. Next up is a song whose name I will not mention because it is the worst song in the history of time. Trey must have been mad at you guys in the venue that night, to drop this song in middle of set 2. But he quickly made amends by playing Lizards next THANK GOD. Easy come easy go... Lizards was a super treat, again the first of 2003 I do believe, and this one, though kinda crunchy, was more than welcomed in this set. Walls of the Cave finds its home as a raging set closer and this one delivers the goods! 17 minutes of IN YOUR FACE shreddage, striking again and again at the peak, this version EXPLODES with energy! Perhaps the highlight of the set? I mean, say what you will about the last 10 amazing minutes of Melt, the first 12 minutes just sucked... and there is nothing sucky about this WOTC. Bouncing, Frankenstein encore is exactly what it looks like on paper.

All and all, a weird show. An example of Phish tying too hard in my opinion. But at least they're trying, right?

Must hear jams: Split Open and Melt, Walls of the Cave
Probably-should-listen-to jams: Gumbo, Divided Sky, Carini > Magilla, Possum
Score: 0
Golgiappa789 , attached to 1987-04-29 Permalink
Golgiappa789 A few weeks ago I put into place an idea I've had for years now. Figure out a way to listen to Phish through the years. It's a hard task to tackle with so much out there but I began roughly in '91. Some shows I've been chosing randomly, other's on recommendations. To say I found this show randomly is an understatement. I decided to start moving to '92 but after a bit of searching to see which direction I should take, I found myself in Possum song history, which lead from one thing to another, which eventually lead me to a song called "Melt the Guns". I've never heard of it before and watched the video under the song history and noticed that this show 4/29/87 was a recommended show mentioned by the previous show review. And then I found myself 3ish hours later, have listened to the whole show.

I think the previous review pretty much sums this show up perfectly, but what I wanted to add was a perspective of someone who is not new to Phish, but new to trying to navigate the waters of early Phish and what these shows have to offer. I've learned a TON from listening to this show and looking up the song histories. To start, It's pretty cool to know that this show is maybe one of 4 or 5 quality recordings from this time and used to be one of the original circulating tapes that was passed around in the day. That's the first thing that drew me to this show. But the fun doesn't stop there...

I was amazed at how many covers you can listen to. Regardless of the reason they played so many that night, it's great to be able to trace covers back to these early shows that are still played to this day. Some of my favorites like Boogie On, Peaches, Quinn, Cities, and it goes on. To see how many got left behind only after a short few years is equally interesting. But on to brand new things...

Melt the Guns... First time ever listening to it and first time I've ever heard of it! This kicks off almost like any other phish song. Quirky, fun, multiple things going on at once. But where it really takes off is the nice jam that forms towards the end leading into Dave's Energy Guide. If you listen to the jam and transition, you can hear hints of how they sound and still play today. For the time, I don't know if this was exploratory or coincidence, but it's a real good listen if you want to hear that sound.

Other songs I drew to for this show was McGrupp, Lushington, and Who Do? We Do? For anyone in need of an early Phish lesson, this shows got it. Lot's of lyrics in McGrupp with a HUGE ending, very tight and exciting. I finally fully get the Lushington Dicks Gag, and to see parts of Fluffhead all over the place in early shows really puts a spin on how the songs developed in the first place.

With that, I'm probably headed back into '91 to finish up Amy's Farm and probably move forward to '92. I'm not sure yet how they stack up against other early shows, but for quality and song selection I'm gona rate this show a 4 of 5. I'm kinda new to show reviews, especially from this time, before my time, but I look forward to the shows to come! If you get a chance to listen to this show, enjoy.
Score: 1
Let_Page_Jam , attached to 2015-08-21 Permalink
Let_Page_Jam You get a Simple type II opener, I'll repeat that. You get a Simple type II opener. The Dogs welcomes you in, TMWSIY>AvMu>TMWSIY is played beautifully, and it's like the portal back in time when Phish laid down monster show after monster show, the rest of the set is very well played but all, especially Trey, but even more especially Mike, who just sounds so inspired all weekend long. The first set then leads up to the Gin (not before the second ever Mock Song!!!). The Gin is, dare I say, the best Gin? Better than Riverport '98, MSG '95, or Nassau '03? Maybe... But it's definitely up there with the best of them, and it happened in a first set of a 3.0 show. Of course, Festivals always bring out the best in the band (except that one time...)

Seriously, the MagnaGin can't be praised enough. It goes through at least 3 amazing sections, and peaks at least twice. A jam that is the biggest memory for me from the festival, sort of like I realized how great this whole weekend was going to be. There was no way Phish were going to suck this weekend.

The second set is just jam after jam after jam after jam. And some dark meat Phish at that, there's no rainbows or fairy dust in this set, and not in the 2.0 way either, it's all bad ass music with some ferociousness and inventiveness. This set is very underrated here, as the Gin or the next night get much of the attention. BIG Chalk Dust, goes through many great ideas, at some point gets very dark. Ghost is great, goes type II quickly, enters some grizzly territory. RnR is meaty and a great lead in to Harry Hood. Hood is another in a string of great Hoods since 8/5/13's "HollyHood". The MagnaHood, however, I think, is very overshadowed by a lot of the other highlights of Magnaball, and is almost lost in the shuffle. This Hood goes type II (again!) and the band plays some cool funky stuff. Waste gives everyone a chance to catch their breath. No Men's comes blasting in and is a nice long one, and my favorite version before the mammoth NYE '15 version. Keeps the funky party going. Slave ends the set on a high note, and Trey SOARS in this version, closing out an extraordinary set.

Farmhouse and First Tube close out the show I felt was the best day of Phish in 15 years, at least until the next night. But still, this show is tops. Tops. Only thing that could top it would have to be 3 set show plus a giant improv set, or of course, Phish playing on the moon for 12 hours playing nothing but improv in while floating around in a space station.
Score: 0
brob711 , attached to 1994-06-30 Permalink
brob711 This show is very good. Solid all around.

First set highlights for me are as follows:

DWD: Very nice rocking jam that reaches a good peak. Nice way to start the show!

Gumbo: Page shines on the baby grand at the end of this Gumbo before > into rift.

SOAMelt: Intense, energy packed jam that just seems to never quit! This is one of the best SOAMelt's of 1.0 in my opinion.

Set two highlights:

YEM->Yerushalayim Shel Zahav->YEM: This is beautiful. The sandwich is placed very well. The jam segment of this YEM is great all over the board. Page shines on baby grand, the jam turns into almost free-form jazz which then morphs into a bass and drums segment reminiscent of the Dead's drums>space from the eighties. The vocal jam features an amusing shining quote with trey screaming "REDRUM" to top it all off.

Harpua: Great as always, this version features an audience member playing Jimmy and singing kareoke "Honky Tonk Women" in the middle. A fun one.

Antelope: This antelope is nuts. The jam is intense and crazy and a wild ride. When listening to this antelope, make sure you have a helmet on.

Great show, 4.5/5.
Score: 0
zarathustraz , attached to 2016-07-16 Permalink
On paper, this first set probably doesnít look that impressive, but it is. Each song is played with vigor, and thereís nary a lull to be had, even where youíd expect to find one. Itís one of the strongest, most consistent, first sets of the tour.

Buried Alive is one of the best and most beloved openers in Phishís catalogue, so things are off to a good start. Phish maintains the energy through the next three songs, AC/DC Bag, Moma Dance, and Uncle Pen. Itís an entirely listenable, entirely danceable sequence, and everyone was getting down. Few bands can seamlessly string together surf music, straightforward rock, some funk, and some bluegrass and keep everyone moving without missing a beat. Phish can, and Phish did. Buried Alive is clean; Bag is enthusiastic and highlighted by a solid solo from Trey; Moma drops perfectly out of Bag and lands into the funk sweet spot where everyone can feel it; and Uncle Pen is another clean delivery with nice work from Mike and some fretboard acrobatics from Trey.

555 might look like the first misstep of the set, but it really didnít turn out that way. The energy was already high, and 555 was able to carry it a little further. Itís a good song when placed well. The only problem is that itís a bit too often played, which means itís frequently not placed well. Fortunately, it worked here, and Trey peeled out a demonic solo with hints of the Carini to come later in the night. If you listen to both solos, youíll notice a striking resemblance between the two.

Sleep Again was a welcomed choice for the setting sun ballad slot. A gorgeous song with an exceptionally gorgeous Page solo. This was my earworm the next day. I couldnít get the Sleep Again melody out of my head, and I didnít really want to. Next is Itís Ice. The composed sections are definitely passable, and the boys treat us to a nice extended jam in the breakdown. Iím happy weíve returned to an era when a little Ice jam is expected. If this were only a couple years back, this Ice would definitely be on the charts.

After the down and up sequence of Sleep Again and Itís Ice, the boys take us down again for the big bust-out of the night, Driver. Weíll see this up and down pattern in the second set with less benign effects, but it works in the first set, especially when the sandwich includes two relatively rare slow songs interspliced with some Ice and then a little Sand. Sand stays within the sandbox, but itís always fun playing around in there. The boys build a dazzling castle with a vertiginous precipice before moving on to their next plaything.

Trey hits all his marks in Horn, which makes this Horn a good Horn. Halfway to the Moon is a song with a lot of potential, but is too often played and too often not given the effort it deserves (Iíve seen it 4 times in my last 7 shows). Tonight it was given that effort, and, like the version from 10/17/14 in Eugene, OR, the build up is vibrant and the peak is strong. Halfway to the Moon is another example of where this set could plunk a dud and instead lands a gem.

The first set closes with a climax of epic proportions in the form of Bathtub Gin. This is possibly Treyís highpoint of the evening. Itís shreddy and super peaky. There isnít necessarily a lot of interesting phrasing that sticks out along the way, but itís still impossible not to get caught up in this jamís uproarious lift-off after uproarious lift-off. The song starts peaking around the 8:30 mark and doesnít stop ascending for the next three minutes. Definitely worth a listen.

The end of the first set ties up two killer sets in a row at the Gorge, this one and the second set from the night before. Itís no wonder expectations were high for the final set of the weekend.

The second set opens with Blaze On. Blaze On, like Fuego, is one of those promising songs that almost immediately after being premiered entered the pantheon of over-played. Itís not a song Iím excited to hear, especially in the second set. Unfortunately, I wasnít given a reason to reconsider my position. Blaze On leaves structure only to quickly fizzle out. Over about three minutes, a lot of promising ideas are presented, likely too many, which is maybe why none of them take hold. An attempted jam soon forgotten.

Backwards Down the Number Line follows the aborted jam. This is a song that has really grown on me. Iíve gone from grunts of disappointment at its opening chords, to genuine gleeful hooting. And the rest of the crowd at the Gorge seemed to be of a similar mind because Number Line was very warmly welcomed this evening. But this Number Line doesnít quite do the trick. Re-listens prove it marred by some significantly placed flubs from Trey (the one during the peak was even apparent during the show). With a song like Number Line, youíre not going to find that much variety between versions; thereís really no reason to go for a flubified one over one better executed.

For re-listen value, the second set really gets underway with Carini. The energy during the verses and chorus was absolutely astounding. The true essence of the song is fully palpable. Trey was especially into it and even gave us a second run through the ďlumpy headĒ refrain. The jam stays inside the box, but itís an explosive box, for sure. Trey tears at his guitar with long, distorted strains, like we heard in 555, but this time with frankenstein intensity. Itís short, but itís perfect.

Birds of a Feather was the most originally conceived song of the night, which is not something typically said of BOAF. Trey barely touches his guitar while singing the verses, only a few accents here and there. The rest of the guys catch on, and BOAF starts as a kind of minimalist collage, with a little color added here and there by each of the band members. Treyís solo starts subterranean, just nudging at the earth, and then peaking through, but staying close to the ground, peering through the grass, inching this way and that, surveying, moving from a slither to a crawl to a gallop. By the end, it sounds like the BOAF weíre used to, but how we got there was quite a different adventure, and Trey exhibited some awesome artistry in brining us along.

After a Trey-huddle, the guys slow it down even more from an already relatively slow BOAF. Wingsuit is a beautiful song, and this is actually an exceptional version. Thereís about two minutes more than usual in the jam section. You can hear Trey looking for different pockets in the music to explore, but what results isnít as interesting as the BOAF that preceded. Itís a nice jam, but very chill and very delicate. That could potentially be a bonus, but it matters what they follow Wingsuit up with. Judging by typical Wingsuit placement, I think Trey believes itís some sort of rocker. Someone should tell him that itís not. No matter how much he slays at the end, the mellowed out beginning and the still swayable climax donít quite constitute for an energy boost, which is all to say, Phish should not follow Wingsuit with a ballad. Wingsuit is the ballad. No discussion necessary. And this more chilled out version of Wingsuit is especially a ballad.

But, like I said, I think someone still needs to tell Trey this because they follow Wingsuit with Shade. I heard Shade debuted in Bend in 2015, and I like Shade, but this was absolutely horrible placement for it. If you cut this song out, the entire third quarter of this show would be much better, and I bet the rating would go up significantly. But Shadeís here, casting its shadow, and it sucks all the energy out.

Thankfully, they follow up with a Mikeís Song. They have a lot of ground to make up after the Shade energy-suck, but depending on song selection in this Groove, all could be salvaged. The Mikeís Song is strong, forceful stuff. Dark, menacing, and funkafied. Treyís Mu-Tron puts in its best work of the night. Thereís something about this jam that makes me think of old school Nintendo fighting games. Itís that good.

But once someone turns off the game console and the electricity goes out, we find ourselves quietly in the Farmhouse. Again, I like Farmhouse, but after the Wingsuit>Shade sequence only one song back, Farmhouse seems a quick descent just after we began to rise. (For re-listen value, if you just cut out the Shade, the whole set flows much more smoothly, and Farmhouseís intrusion isnít nearly as detrimental). But, Farmhouse is where Trey wanted to be, and, if you listen, you hear why. This solo is just dripping with sweetness and sentiment and sensitivity. Itís one of the better Farmhouses out there. Trey was in a delicate mood this evening, and you can hear it in all the ballads, which is probably why there were so many.

So now back up this rollercoaster with Weekapaug Groove. The jam starts out frenetic and exciting in a Page-led fury. Treyís echoplex and some slap-happy quickness from Mike add some vibrant texture, but Trey starts feeling delicate again, and he takes the jam into a sweet little grassy valley, where all is well and serene. After gazing about there for a bit, he brings the jam back up and we make it back to a place similar to the one where Page left us. I would like to say this jam has a perfectly coherent valley-like structure to it, but thatís not quite the case. All the parts are awesome, but how theyíre placed together, ultimately, feels a little disjointed.

Nonetheless, we were feeling pretty high after the Groove, so Trey has to make sure we relax into the beauty once more with Shine a Light before they close out the set. Shine a Light is Shine a Light. Itís a great song for when youíre in the mood. After the rollercoaster of this set, though, it was hard to know what you were in the mood for. You didnít want to get too comfortable anywhereÖI guess all I really have to say about this song is that I wish Trey would jam out the solo more.

The encore is a nice cohesive chunk of music, which I would give an A+ as far as encores go. It has a little of everything. First, we get the phishy hijinks of HYHU>Love>HYHU. Good for freaking out the noobs, fun for everyone else.

Then we get the community and the glory. If the vacuum solo freaked out the noobs, the Harry Hood definitely astounded them and brought them into the fold. Trey has CK5 kill the lights and the glow-stick wars begin. No matter how many times youíve seen it, you canít help but be mesmerized when it reaches this capacity. The build up to this Hood is almost entirely environmental, as the guys more or less let the spectacle sink in before stepping in with the music. On recording, this Hood build up might sound a little short, but, in person, it hit fever pitch right on time.

Then the rocker. They bookend the weekend with a balls to the wall Tweezer Reprise. There are few better ways to end a show or a weekend.
Score: 0
david_bowie , attached to 1989-08-19 Permalink
david_bowie 27 years ago today. Damm. Happy anniversary to me.

This was the first time I saw this amazing band and I was blown away. It was my sophomore summer (a required, but delightful semester) at Dartmouth College. There were probably only about 1500 students on campus. Phish already had quite the following in Burlington, and I had heard of them, but alas had not had the chance to check them out. We had a couple of tapes and Junta floating around the house, but the Dead was still the shit during this era.

It was like pulling teeth trying to get folks to leave the comfort and free flowing beer of our fraternity basement on a hot Saturday night to go to a *free* concert. The action was already in progress when a few of us ambled in. Back in those days, Collis, which still serves as the Dartmouth student center, contained a small cafe and a dance floor more suited to a high school band. No way there were 300 ppl at the show. It was more like 80-100. I remember thinking how sad it was that such talented musicians were ripping it up for such a small, subdued crowd. There were a few "followers" shaking their bones, but otherwise it was pretty lame crowd.

Despite the turnout, I reveled in the goofy energy and raw power of the band, especially my new guitar hero. Honestly, I still prefer this era of Phish to the self-indulgent, tripped out, incessant noodling of 96/97. The Bowie, the following comedy act led by Fish, as well as the Mike's Groove to end the first set, all left a permanent impression on me. I recall 2nd set trampolines, during YEM I believe. I left this show thinking, "What a friggin talented and crazy band! Too bad they are so out there. They'll never make it big." LOL. A few New Years shows later, the Santana and Horde tours, Jerry dies, and the rest is Phishtory.

In the early days, the p fish did not need much of an audience to have a good time.
Score: 0
The_Steiner , attached to 2009-06-20 Permalink
The_Steiner first show. i think back to this weekend a lot, and most of my memories come from N2. HOWEVER - i remember very clearly that Stash, and how it made me feel that, yes, i was ready for IT.. a few years passed til i really got IT, but this was my initiation, and for that i'm forever grateful.
Score: 0
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